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When a person is struggling with their mental ill health, they can experience significant changes in both the ways that they behave and the way they feel and it can also result in changing the way that they think about things. This can affect their ability to carry out normal tasks and we know that mental ill health can result in personal harm or suffering and in some circumstances, can be a danger to both the person concerned and others. Mental ill health can affect both the person's performance in their work and their home life too. So it may impact their relationships with colleagues, friends and family. When someone has mental ill health, they may not have the ability to think clearly, they may also be experiencing mood swings and changes in their appetite. Mental ill health may cause disturbed sleep patterns and a decline in energy levels. It can mean that they also lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, something which may increase the risk of isolation.

Sometimes a person could be more irritable, they may seem abrupt or even rude or start to use a language they would not normally use. It is not uncommon for people who are experiencing mental ill health to lose interest in both how they look and such things as their personal hygiene, which can lead to physical issues and problems. Examples of more common mental health problems include stress, anxiety, depression, phobias, OCD and issues around food. Less common mental health problems include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders. These will be covered in more detail later in the course. People may experience mental ill health due to a number of factors. It is very important to make sure that when you offer the support you do not judge and you never try and diagnose. Mental health is a complex subject and your role is to support the individual and provide them with information about where they can go for help.